For a second, his dark eyes focused on the blank space in front of him, trying to remember his life before Michaela, before this whole baby situation, before the unhappiness of the last years.
He was trying to remember Antonia… not because he was so attached to her memory, but because nothing about it had been worth the pain he’d endured. Maxim had lost Antonia several times over. In the end, an impenetrable wall had gone up between them, and he hadn’t been able to reach her anymore. He hadn’t been able to protect her, from her grief, from death.
At this point, all Maxim knew was that he had no desire to ever go through that kind of hell again.
“So, you’re absolutely sure you’re going to meet someone else?” Michaela asked, her copper eyes deadly serious.
“I’m marrying you, Michaela… You’re the only
Michaela fought to regain some control, some kind of command over her senses. Impossible when she felt as if all of the feelings inside her were too big to be contained by her skin. So difficult when she was certain she might shatter into a million pieces. A needy moan escaped her lips and her body trembled as he moved closer to the place where she was wet and aching for him. She didn’t have control anymore… she felt as if she might fall from the earth and float away as if there was nothing holding her to the bed. She gripped the sheets, tried to focus, tried to find some shred of sanity, because this, what he was doing to her, making her feel, was terrifying. Michaela couldn’t temper it, couldn’t lead it, or plan it. But she felt her hold slipping, felt herself ready to plunge over the edge, and if that
“Your belly is starting to show, Misha.” Maxim put his arms around Michaela from behind and caressed her bare midsection. She had been examining herself in the mirror in the master suite, sucking in her expanding stomach. She gently smacked his hand. “Thank you, Maxim… Just what every woman wants to hear from her man!” “It’s sexy… You’re so sexy…” He nuzzled her neck and kissed the hollow just beneath her ear. “You must know how incredibly sexy I think you are.” Michaela knew. Maxim had spent all night showing her just how sexy he thought she was. It had been such a wonderful revelation. She’d discovered a whole, huge part of herself she hadn’t even known existed. A part of herself she’d spent far too long suppressing.
Looking at his expression, Michaela realized this was more intimate for him than making love. Maxim was sharing something with her that he had not shared with any other woman, any other person, period. Not even with Antonia, his wife of seven years. That did something to her. It made the most bittersweet pain twist her heart, made her stomach tighten with longing. “I would like that…” Maxim put an arm around her and took Michaela’s chin in his hand, tilting her face up so that their eyes met. “Misha… I want to paint ALL of you. No clothes, no barriers… I want to capture only you and our child.” Realization of what that meant dawned slowly. “Oh… I can’t do that, Maxim!” she protested, her cheeks heating at the idea of getting naked in such
Michaela ran her soft hand over his abs, and Maxim’s stomach tightened, his whole body aching, ready for her again. If it was only his body that was affected it wouldn’t be so dangerous, but his chest felt too full when he looked at her when he touched her. It was too much. It wasn’t what this was supposed to be about. Maxim thought about what his father had said. About the paternity test. Michaela had even commented that if they’d made a mix-up at the lab in the first place, it was possible they had made a mistake and that he wasn’t the father. If that were true, Michaela would be free to go back home. They wouldn’t even have to get married. He’d imagined that thought might make him feel free, that the prospect of escaping marriage might make the tightness in his chest lessen. Instead, it sent an intense
Michaela was more than thankful for having an opportunity to get out of the palace later that day. The meeting with the men and women she was working with to organize the Carpathian branch of the MD Foundation had gone well. It had provided some much-needed distraction from the anxiety of waiting for the test results, from the stifling solitude that came from being in a huge building surrounded by people who basically never talked to her. But most of all, she needed a distraction from her earlier revelation. She didn’t want to be in love with Maxim. She was saving all her love for their child. She didn’t want to have her emotions tangled up in loving him, not when he was only going to hurt her. She didn’t want to be like her parents. Didn’t wa
He backed her across the room and turned her so that she was facing away from him before bending her gently over the surface of the dresser that was positioned up against the wall. “Maxim…” Michaela asked tremulously. “Trust me again, Misha,” he grated. Maxim moved his hands up her still-slender waist, around to her stomach, and over the little bump that housed their baby. His heart jumped and he curled his hands into fists before opening them again and palming her breasts, releasing the front clasp on her bra and letting it fall open. He covered them, squeezed her sensitized nipples, drawing a low, desperate moan from her lips. Maxim abandoned her breasts to push her skirt down her hips, taking her tiny pair of panties with it. He pressed his hand against her mound, pushing one finger thr
The desire hadn’t gone away. Not even for a moment. She could see from the molten heat in his eyes that he felt the same. “I’ve never been playing with you,” Maxim replied, his voice intense. “Please know that. I’ve handled things badly, but hurting you was the last thing I wanted.” “Still, you did hurt me,” Michaela concluded. “We promised we were going to talk about things, but we didn’t. You just shut me out, and I have no idea what happened to cause it.” He raised his eyes and met hers… the stark, raw emotion in them shocked her. “I know,” he said roughly. “You can’t imagine how sorry I am. Please come with me, Michaela.” She nodded slowly and let him lead her from the villa. When she realized where they were headed, Michaela stopped. “Maxim... No… I can’t…” “Tr